Lee Lifeson Art Park Opening – September 17

Lee Lifeson Art Park Opening – September 17

In recent years we have had the great fortune of opening a new park virtually annually in Willowdale.  2016 is particularly special as our community’s new Lee Lifeson Art Park – located between Princess and Hillcrest Avenues at Gladys Allison Place – will be not only celebrate the arts in our community and beyond, but will honour two hugely successful artists with local origins.

The initiative to create an art park, and to name it after Willowdale natives Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, originated with John in …

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City Consulting on Web Tools

City Consulting on Web Tools

The City of Toronto is working on the design, development and implementation of a new toronto.ca website that is citizen-centric and service-focused, with a new look and feel.  As part of this project, a number of sessions are being organized looking for feedback on key web design elements.

The City will team with Ipsos Reid to host a Citizenlab – an in-person survey and focus group event – at the North York Civic Centre on Wednesday, September 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.  Several spaces are still available …

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From City Hall: Changes Coming for Recreation Registration

From City Hall: Changes Coming for Recreation Registration

For parents who waited in line overnight to get their kids into recreation programs, or for the thousands who struggled to get connected to the City’s registration system online in this or recent years, it was welcome news when Mayor Tory announced plans to improve the City’s online registration process.

The City of Toronto annually processes 600,000 registrations for about 80,000 programs and classes offered through its facilities.  70% of total registrations are now completed within the first hour of registration days.  Though the registration system …

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From City Hall: 2016 Budget

From City Hall: 2016 Budget

In January, Council will debate the 2016 budget.  These discussions are always challenging and must balance the reluctance to ask residents to pay more than the rate of inflation, while also ensuring the City has the necessary capital to run well.  Willowdale residents are particularly aware of tax increases as local property values continue to skyrocket.  As these values ultimately determine the taxes residents pay, our community is disproportionately affected by all budget decisions.

For this reason John tends to support user fees as a budget …

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From City Hall: Shifting Plans on Transit (and Open Houses)

From City Hall: Shifting Plans on Transit (and Open Houses)

The City has once again announced a shuffling of the deck on high speed transit proposing amendments to several projects previously approved by Council.  While residents have grown weary of constant change, in this case there is reason for optimism and hope that the City is not only moving forward, but inching closer to getting it “right.”

The Mayor’s SmartTrack proposal leveraging the Province’s electrification of the GO lines was approved for study by Council in 2015.  It adds stations to these lines in the eastern …

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Mayor Updates Congestion Management Plan at Yonge-Sheppard

Mayor Updates Congestion Management Plan at Yonge-Sheppard

The City of Toronto has been analyzing “big data” related to traffic movement and this week made official what Willowdale residents have known for years.  Traffic at the Yonge-Sheppard and Yonge-Finch intersections both rank in the top-10 worst in the city.  Mayor John Tory and Councillor Jaye Robinson, chair of the City’s Public Works & Infrastructure Committee revealed these stats as part of an announcement at Yonge & Sheppard this week.

Mayor Tory has made traffic congestion one of his top priorities.  Phase one of his …

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Mayor Tory an Important Ally on Yonge/401 Interchange

Mayor Tory an Important Ally on Yonge/401 Interchange

For more than a decade, Willowdale residents concerned with traffic have been following the political drama surrounding the Yonge Street/Highway 401 interchange.  City Council first approved John’s motion to study the area in 2006.  This study identified the interchange – and in particular the route for moving southbound Yonge traffic onto eastbound 401 – as the single most fixable contributor to local gridlock.

Since then, the City has been attempting to work with the Province, which owns the land around the interchange, to complete the necessary …

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John Named as Toronto’s Arts Advocate

John Named as Toronto’s Arts Advocate

On Monday, John appeared with Mayor John Tory in Toronto’s St. James Park and was introduced as the City’s new Arts Advocate.  In this role, John will be developing a number of new projects.

Announced was the return of the Mayor’s Evening for the Arts as a celebration and fundraiser for the arts community.  One of the programs it will fund, is a new Arts in the Parks project, increasing both access to usable space for artists as well as public use of parks.  In the …

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Mayor Proclaims Nowruz Day in Toronto

Mayor Proclaims Nowruz Day in Toronto

On March 20, Mayor John Tory proclaimed Nowruz Day in the City of Toronto.  An ancient Persian festival that has spanned thousands of years to bring in a “new day” or “new year”, Nowruz symbolizes the affirmation of life in harmony with nature and natural cycles of renewal.

This day has a special significance in the Willowdale community with a large Persian population adding greatly to our local cultural diversity.  John was pleased to join friends at the large annual celebration held in Mel Lastman Square once again …

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2015 City Budget (UPDATED)

2015 City Budget (UPDATED)

Last month City Council passed the 2015 Budget with a number of important service improvements from TTC to shelter services and other poverty reduction measures.  The approved property tax increase was2.25%, below the rate of inflation (2.5%), however when the levy for the Scarborough subway is added, as approved in 2014, along with other adjustments, property owners will see a 3.2% increase to their bill.

Thanks to all residents who participated in John’s survey over the past two months, 60% of respondents indicated that keeping tax …

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From City Hall: SmartTrack Moving Forward with Study Approval at Council

From City Hall: SmartTrack Moving Forward with Study Approval at Council

It was a centrepiece of Mayor Tory’s election campaign and with Council’s approval in February, a work plan will get underway formally studying the feasibility of the SmartTrack proposal and seeking to integrate the work with the Province’s ongoing Regional Express Rail (RER) plan.

SmartTrack seeks to piggyback on the Province’s existing plan to electrify the GO transit lines – specifically the Etobicoke/Lakeshort East,Kitchener and Eglinton West lines – running new surface subways along those routes from Markham to Mississauga.  SmartTrack would seek to add 13 …

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From City Hall: Mayor Making Moves on Traffic & Transit

From City Hall: Mayor Making Moves on Traffic & Transit

They dominated the recent mayoral and ward elections and remain some of the most critical issues facing our City and community.  Mayor Tory announced last week that he is making traffic on of the top priorities for his administration.  Highlighted in his announcement was:

“Zero tolerance” for illegal parking on main roads during rush hour
Better coordination of road closings and establishing higher fees for developers taking over lanes.
Increasing the amount of traffic signal retiming work next year by 40%
Increasing the number of traffic cameras to allow …

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